China has reopened its doors to inbound and outbound tourism thanks to the optimization of its pandemic prevention and control policies.
On March 15, adjustments were made to the visa and entry policy, allowing Chinese embassies and consulates abroad to resume the issuance of various types of visas for foreigners to China.
As a result, several airlines have resumed flight operations from Chengdu to Southeast Asia, including to Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok, and Ho Chi Minh City.
Chengdu has a lot of potential in the inbound tourism market, but traditional tourism activities may not be enough to satisfy the desires and expectations of Southeast Asian tourists.
To meet the needs of these tourists, new and innovative tourism experiences may need to be developed.
Unique cultural experiences such as wearing traditional hanfu and tasting the local cuisine are very attractive to many young Southeast Asian tourists.
Chengdu was named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy in 2010, and its food is a major draw for visitors.
Additionally, Chengdu was the top sales destination during the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) Fair held on March 17-19, 2023, in Kuala Lumpur.
To take advantage of its status as the gourmet capital, Chengdu can organize food tours for young people to experience “Chengdu on the tip of your tongue”.
Many tourists are looking forward to experiencing the charm of Chengdu city, according to Brandy Wong, Sales and Marketing Director at i-World Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd.
Chengdu also has immense potential for health care tourism, particularly for Malaysians who are willing to take a “health tour” for two weeks.
With its excellent ecological environment, abundant resources of traditional Chinese medicine, and exceptional medical facilities, Chengdu is the perfect destination for those looking to focus on medical treatment and health preservation.
In addition to its cuisine and healthcare offerings, Chengdu has many other attractions that visitors can explore.
Setyo Legowo, Director of Piranti Berkah Travelindo, says that apart from giant pandas, there are many other cultural landmarks and natural attractions in and around Chengdu that they can recommend to tourists, including Dujiangyan and the Leshan Giant Buddha.
To improve the quality of tourism services in Chengdu and shape a positive image of China’s tourism industry among overseas tourists, it is important to focus on the details.
Connie Chong, Managing Director of Funholiday Tours & Travel Sdn Bhd, emphasizes the importance of addressing pain points, areas where tourists may experience frustration or dissatisfaction.
Zhao Caihong, General Manager of Chengdu Tianfu Sunshine Hotel, agrees that attention to detail is crucial, especially when it comes to providing hospitality services.
To cater to visitors from different countries, practitioners must improve their foreign language proficiency and be aware of the customs and preferences of their guests.
They must also consider details such as hygiene, indoor temperature (especially during winter) and humidity, as well as foreign-related service processes, to create a welcoming and respectful environment.
By focusing on the residential experience and ensuring that visitors feel valued and respected, Chengdu can create a strong tourism brand that attracts more tourists.
This involves providing attentive and courteous service and paying attention to even the smallest details.
In summary, a customer-centric approach is essential for improving the quality of tourism services in Chengdu and China.
By prioritizing the needs and preferences of overseas tourists, the tourism industry can continue to grow and prosper.
The entourage of travel agents and media from Malaysia and Indonesia embarked on a familiarisation tour to Chengdu on March 21-27 for product updates and inspections.